Volcanic ash costs Australian tourism 10m dollars a day

08:36, June 22, 2011      

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The volcanic ash cloud from Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano over east Australia was costing the tourism industry more than 10 million AU dollars (10.5 million U.S. dollars) a day, an industry group said on Tuesday.

Australian Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive John Lee said the return of the ash cloud this week was causing havoc in Australia, after the major airlines cancelled flights in and out of Sydney and Melbourne.

"Our estimate for the wider tourism industry along the east coast and bottom part of Australia, the daily impact will be over 10 million dollars," he told reporters at the Sydney airport.

Tourism operators and those working in the aviation industry would be most affected, he added.

Lee also said service cancellations would not only affect domestic markets but also major international markets in China, the USA and the UK.

Virgin Australia, Qantas, Jetstar and Tiger cancelled flights around Australia and some international services on Tuesday due to the risks posed by the ash cloud.

The ash cloud from Chile had caused six days of disruptions last week as the plume made its way over Australian and New Zealand airspace.

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